Following controversial comments made on social media one day earlier, PGA of America president Ted Bishop was removed from office by the organization Friday evening, the PGA announced in a news release. GolfChannel.com first reported the news of Bishop's removal.
In a statement to the media, Bishop termed his ousting an "impeachment" and explained that he was given the option to resign, which he declined in order to speak to the board of directors and offer a "personal apology." Bishop's removal also means that he will not be recognized as an honorary president or past president by the PGA, nor will he be invited back to future PGA Championships or Ryder Cups in an honorary fashion.
Though his tenure was scheduled to end Nov. 22, with vice president Derek Sprague to serve as interim president. Paul Levy, the organization's current secretary, will assume dual responsibilites as both vice president and secretary until next month's election.
The PGA of America said its Board of Directors voted to remove Bishop, the 38th PGA President, from office for insensitive gender-based statements posted yesterday on social media. The Board deemed the remarks to be inconsistent with the policies of the PGA.
“The PGA of America understands the enormous responsibility it has to lead this great game and to enrich lives in our society through golf,” said PGA chief executive officer Pete Bevacqua. “We must demand of ourselves that we make golf both welcoming and inclusive to all who want to experience it, and everyone at the PGA of America must lead by example.”
Bevacqua also appeared exclusively on Golf Central Friday, explaining that the members of the organization were "both saddened and disappointed" by Bishop's remarks.
"We were certainly all disappointed," he said. "It's our mission to grow the game, to be as inclusive and accessible as we can be. Obviously we're all about trying to promote diversity in the game."
Bishop came under fire Thursday for a tweet about Ian Poulter, calling the five-time Ryder Cup participant a "Lil Girl" for Poulter's criticism of fellow Englishman Nick Faldo in his recently-released autobiography. Bishop also expanded on his view in a post to his personal Facebook page, which like the tweet was deleted about an hour after it was posted:
"Used to be athletes who had lesser records or accomplishments in a sport never criticized the icons," Bishop wrote. "Tom Watson (8 majors and a 10-3-1 Ryder Cup record) and Nick Faldo (6 majors and all-time Ryder Cup points leader) get bashed by Ian James Poulter. Really? Sounds like a little school girl squealing during recess. C'MON MAN!"
The PGA of America released a statement Thursday, noting that "Ted realized that his post was inappropriate and promptly removed it."
Bishop later said in an email to The Associated Press, "Obviously I could have selected some different ways to express my thoughts on Poulter's remarks. Golf had always been a sport where respect was shown to its icons. That seems to have gone by the wayside.”
In his statement following his removal, Bishop apologized to Poulter for his remarks.
"This is a classic example of poor use of social media on my part," he said. "If I had the chance to hit the delete button on the things I sent out yesterday, I would without hesitation."
While the PGA deems Bishop to have been removed from office, Bevacqua did concede that Bishop's use of the term "impeachment" was "accurate in its essence." Bishop ended his statement with a positive reflection on his time in office.
"I take great pride in what we were able to accomplish in the last 23 months," he said. "Hopefully, we laid the groundwork for a successful future for the PGA of America. Today, all I have left is my PGA membership and that will always mean the world to me."